NDP Leader Tom Mulcair pledged $100 million to help 25 northern and remote communities replace diesel generators with clean energy at a media conference in Iqaluit's Rotary Park.

He made the promise during his second day of a campaign stop in Iqaluit at a media conference focused on climate change.

"We're going to start with something obvious, we're in some of the most pristine ecosystems on Earth and we're burning so much diesel to make electricity," said Mulcair. "It's a paradox."

Mulcair in Apex

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair announced a plan to spent $100 million to help 25 off-grid, northern communities reduce their dependence on diesel generators. (Sima Sahar Zerehi/CBC)

"We're going to work with the communities to come up with solutions like small hydro, wind, other green energy alternatives to start replacing the diesel," Mulcair added. "Diesel, it can always be there as a backup, but I want most of that electricity to come from clean, renewable sources." 

Mulcair said the $100-million investment over four years will not only create local jobs for Inuit but also help improve the health and safety of northern communities.

Canada has about 300 off-grid communities that rely primarily on diesel generators.

Front line of climate change

Mulcair also directed shots at Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, criticizing his environmental record.

"Every step of the way, Stephen Harper has stood in the way of meaningful action to tackle climate change," Mulcair said. "Our record on tackling climate change is the worst of the wealthiest 27 countries in the world."

Mulcair pointed to the $1.1 billion in federal funding cuts for science and technology over Harper's last term, as well as the firing of more than 4,000 federal researchers and science personnel.

"Elders and scientists have told Stephen Harper to fight climate change. They told us that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world," he said.

If elected, Mulcair promised to listen to both elders and scientists on issues such as climate change.

"I respect the tremendous value of science, as well as traditional knowledge."

NDP promises to set up parliamentary science officer 

Mulcair also promised to set up an office for a parliamentary science officer, saying that Harper's government "has hit the mute button on Canadian science."

The office would be able to make independent analysis on scientific issues.